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Jul 19, 2012

Online survey and public meetings will engage public in future forest preserve fun


The Forest Preserves of Cook County have long been known for incredible recreational opportunities close to the city—think hiking, biking, fishing, birding, horseback riding, swimming, golfing, and cross-country skiing. But it has been decades since the Forest Preserve District took a formal look at its recreational offerings. So it recently launched a public process to create a Recreation Master Plan.


“We want to provide innovative, creative recreational opportunities that not only introduce people to the Forest Preserves but keep them coming back, to experience nature and enjoy any one of the hundreds of activities we’ve been offering for decades,” said General Superintendent Arnold Randall. “It just may be time to add something fresh—we don’t know what yet. We’re looking to the residents of Cook County to help us shape what that looks like.”


  • ONLINE SURVEY: Beginning today through August 10, the public can take the District’s online survey to provide input on everything from new facilities to new activities they might try. Take the survey at


  • PUBLIC MEETINGS: The District hosted the first of three public meetings yesterday at Brookfield Zoo, discussing the plan development process and receiving useful input from attendees. Two more public meetings will be held in September and January. Details on upcoming meetings will be posted at


When complete, the Recreation Master Plan will provide the District with a blueprint for enhancing existing recreation opportunities as well as identifying and developing new ones compatible with its mission. The District has already made some forays into fresh recreational options, including its summer Films in the Forest series, which screens a nature- or site-related film with nature-themed activities.


“Engaging our citizens in this process is a rewarding and inclusive way to responsibly maximize the use of the Forest Preserve District,” said District President Toni Preckwinkle. “We are keeping in mind that sustainability is key to any new activity in the preserves, and any recreation must be compatible with our core mission of preserving the integrity of our natural areas for future generations to experience.”


The Recreation Master Plan survey process began in May when the District conducted a survey of nearly 4,000 randomly selected Cook County residents by mail, telephone and e-mail to ask them about activities they wanted to see more or less of in the preserves.

Visit two of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County